Safety for Australia - Covid-19

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Dear Mr. Morrison

I would appreciate you taking a few minutes to read this letter that expresses and represents ‘our’ troubled thoughts and escalating anxiety. The ‘our’ represents thousands of doctors, healthcare professionals, and indeed ordinary Australians who are all beholden to you; your policies, your procedures and your leadership.

You see Sir, we’re on the frontline and yet we seemingly have no clear battle plan? War takes guts! We’re the foot soldiers and yet we are ill prepared for the silent enemy ravaging our continent, Covid- 19. This island we call home is not immune from the ravages of a war that is about to be unleashed! In fact, we are wholly unprepared! This enemy is deadly and has us all in its ghastly grip. By its very nature, a virus allows us little to no time to act… the final hour has come. Will it be your finest hour Mr Morrison, or our last?

As a doctor, I took an oath to maintain the utmost respect for human life; I swore to not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat. I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour. But I’m struggling and this battle has only just begun. I want to respect human life and fight for it with every inch of my passionate being yet we are going to be unable to do so. I work with limited masks - they are in short supply, I am told to minimise use of gloves - there aren’t enough to go around, patients who should be tested in vast numbers aren’t being tested: “Go home and self-isolate,” they direct, as people go off nonchalantly together. We’re going to run out of ventilators; our key weapon! With respect Sir, have you stopped to look at the videos of people struggling to breathe? It’s far from pretty! In fact, we’ve been fed information that has somewhat lulled us into a false sense of security and invincibility. Lulled into thinking it’s mainly going to affect the elderly, dulled into believing that most people hardly notice they have it, calmed into believing that it is usually mild, reassured in to thinking that we’ve got this. NO - wake up, this is not true! If the current soaring infection trajectory takes flight, as predicted …and it will, we are indeed in deep water, barely afloat, drowning in our own demise. Within a few short weeks, if not days, myself and thousands of colleagues will be faced with the dilemma, like in Italy and elsewhere, of playing God. Our universal dance with the devil! I, along with my colleagues, will find ourselves in a situation that violates human life. This will rest heavily on us Mr Morrison. I became a doctor to save all lives, not just some!

You see Sir, this Covid -19 virus is an indiscriminate enemy. The battle line has been drawn and this war needs decisive direction. We, your troops, cannot rely on the advice of a few, no matter how bright or experienced they are. It’s not enough to keep saying, “I am following the advice of…,” because what we are seeing from the rest of the world is very different from what you are telling us to do. We too are qualified, thoughtful and full of medical knowledge. We know the facts and figures - and they never lie. Lack of common sense to place people into lockdown, is quite literally, going to be the death of us. We watch wide-eyed and listen, full of disbelief and mistrust, for we know what this is really going to look like. This war needs YOU to simply stop, to take stoic stock and to look around at what is before your very eyes. Look at the USA and the UK, shiver at the scenes playing out in the wards and on floors of Italian, French and Spanish hospitals. Army trucks prowl the streets, picking up bodies as hospitals and mortuaries simply cannot cope. Are mass graves seen by drones flying over Iran fact or fiction? These counties have all been brought to their knees. Surely you can see that this land of ours is about to miss the biggest window of opportunity, the tipping point is now! So PLEASE, I beg you Sir, let’s bunker down and get serious. Short term pain for long term gain has to be the new normal. Your next manoeuvre MUST be based on common sense and the lessons already available from those who have started to very slowly and sluggishly win. China has been in total lockdown for weeks and only now are they cautiously rising again from their ashes. Mr Morrison, I know we love our democracy but it takes you telling us what to do as a collective. This battle cannot be fought individually and most of us have never experienced anything remotely like this. We weren’t around to learn the lessons from 1918 when the H1N1 virus infected 500 million people and killed 50 million.

We are one nation and you are at the helm – so just do it! Make those tough, uncomfortable decisions, because we need authority now for the enjoyment of this land later. Social distancing is a great idea but a dangerous and totally impractical failed fallacy that cannot be relied upon. Aggressive testing needs to happen on mass immediately - we need to know who has this killer. So, buy the test kits, import them, manufacture them! Not just for those who fill a specific criterion, but for all of us who aren’t sick and still walk around confidently unaware, selfishly unperturbed or worse still, chronically contagious. Casual crowds at Bondi Beach are not okay. The adage “Ignorance is bliss,” has never had more meaning than right now, in our beloved land!

So, we have all been warned but you have the reigns. You know the healthcare system will not cope; our hospital statistics are flashing red! Our lives are in your hands, literally! Medical professionals are at their wits end already, waiting for you to lead with new advice in this pandemic. Specialists who I talk to agree that we do not have enough medical equipment or ICU beds to deal with the pandemic that is unfolding right before us. Retired doctors and nurses are now pre-emptively being requested to assist – slow steps indeed.

I work in a world class tertiary government hospital and can see what is happening already! We are running low on ALL sorts and this is before the real extent of coronavirus hits home... colleagues are practicing medical emergency codes bracing for the Big C patient onslaught. It is not a matter of if but when; beds are filling up!

This is a health pandemic first, an economic disaster second. So, please Sir, I know that money talks but I beg you not to put a price on my head or anyone else’s. A recession is inevitable but we, your hard-working Aussie ‘subjects’ need you to support us who have all become an Aussie battler as we are all in the biggest battle our lifetime will probably ever see. Let our well-known Australian cultural idiom of ‘mateship’ that so wonderfully embodies equality, loyalty and friendship thrive. We need to bunker down now and survive to live another day!